Skip to content
Date updated: 7/04/2024

You must have our pre-approval letter to arrive at or transit through Heathrow airport. You should arrive on weekdays if possible, due to limited weekend capacity.

If you arrive without our pre-approval you may be subject to delays and increased charges. This could result in your dog being quarantined or re-exported at your cost.

Dogs which have been trained by a member of the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF) or Assistance Dogs International (ADI) will be recognised as service dogs. Dogs which have received equivalent training or testing may be recognised by your airline. An unrecognised service dog is one which has not been trained to these standards. Unrecognised service dogs are subject to a checking fee of £429 which you must pay direct to us.

Information from major carriers:

We ask you to send your Stage 1 email to us a minimum of seven days before your scheduled departure.

There are four stages you must follow when travelling with your service dog to Heathrow

Stage 1: Notify us

Please email the following to us:

Flight itinerary

  • Airline booking reference. This is also known as a PNR or record locator number.
  • Scheduled date and time of arrival
  • Inbound flight number
  • Airport of origin

Evidence of airline acceptance

This is usually in the form of:

  • PDF acceptance letter (eg. British Airways)
  • Acceptance email (eg. Virgin Atlantic)
  • Service Animal ID (eg. American Airlines)

Evidence of service dog status

This is usually in the form of:

  • Identification card
  • Training certificate
  • Doctor's letter

Health paperwork

All service dogs must comply with UK Pet Travel Scheme requirements. If you're arriving from the USA see the additional guidance on health requirements.

Send one of the following entry documents:

  • EU Pet Passport (Only valid as an entry document from Part 1 listed countries)
  • Animal Health Certificate (AHC)
  • GB Health Certificate (GBHC.) We can issue pre-approval based on a draft certificate, referring to the certificate before competent authority endorsement (eg. USDA APHIS) and tapeworm treatment. Once you have the finalised certificate (endorsed by the competent authority and tapeworm treatment recorded) you should forward it to us so we can update our records in advance of your arrival at Heathrow.

Send the following supporting documents:

  • Microchip registration / implant certificate: This is not mandatory but we highly advise you confirm the date your dog's microchip was implanted from records, instead of recording the date of first reading.
  • Rabies vaccination certificate. This must have your dog's microchip number on and full details of the rabies vaccine (Product name, manufacturer, batch number, validity dates.)
  • Rabies serology report. This is only needed for service dogs originating from an unlisted country

NOTE: If your dog is travelling with an EU Pet Passport no additional supporting documents are needed.

Stage 2: Await HARC response

We aim to review and reply to your email within 72 hours of receipt with a reference number which you must quote in any further correspondence. We will advise you if we need more information or if any documents require amendment.

Stage 3: Payment (if applicable) and issue of pre-approval letter

We will notify you via email when we are ready to issue pre-approval. For unrecognised service dogs you must pay the £429 checking fee via phone on 020 8745 7894 before we can issue pre-approval. We accept all card types except American Express. The pre-approval letter is sent to you as a PDF in follow-up email from our automated system.

Stage 4: Flight arrival at Heathrow

A HARC representative will greet you as you disembark the aircraft. Please be ready to give us all the original documents previously sent to us. You must not leave the jet bridge or enter the terminal building until one of our representatives has met you. The final entry checks should take no more than about five minutes. We will give you a completion certificate and payment receipts (if applicable) which you must show to the Border Force staff at the immigration channels.

If you're arriving from the USA we strongly advise you and your vet read the USDA APHIS website for guidance on the entry paperwork we need. Here is an electronically fillable copy of the GB Health Certificate (GBHC) that your vet must complete.

We are able to issue pre-approval based on a draft version of the GBHC completed by your vet. Draft refers to the certificate prior to USDA APHIS endorsement and tapeworm treatment. If you're sending a draft GBHC please confirm the following in your 'Stage 1' email:

  • You're aware the GBHC must be endorsed by USDA APHIS no more than 10 days prior to your arrival date.
  • The date and time of the appointment with your vet for the tapeworm treatment. Your vet must administer a treatment in accordance with the requirements on the tapeworm treatment for dogs page on the GOV.UK website.

Once you have the completed certificate (USDA APHIS endorsed, tapeworm treatment recorded) forward this to us so we can update our records.

If your dog is travelling with a 3 year "booster" vaccination and it was administered more than one year before your scheduled arrival date; please send their entire rabies vaccination history back to their one year primary. We need to verify the vaccination history to ensure there are no breaks and all vaccinations occurred after microchipping. Ensure the vaccination certificates or booklet contains:

  • Microchip number
  • Manufacturer of vaccine (eg. Merck, Merial, Zoetis, Boehringer Ingelheim)
  • Product name of vaccine (eg. Nobivac R, Imrab, Defensor)
  • Batch number
  • Validity dates

If you're transiting through Heathrow your service dog must comply with the health requirements set out on the bring your pet to Great Britain page on the GOV.UK website. However you do not need a official entry document. You will need to show that your service dog meets health requirements by sending one of the following:

  • EU Pet Passport
  • Veterinary Certificate to EU. This is only applicable for those transiting to an EU Member State from a third country (eg. USA.) You must send a rabies vaccination certificate, ensuring this confirms its microchip number and full vaccination details (Product name, manufacturer, batch number, validity dates)
  • Supporting documents: This will be in the form of a microchip implant / registration certificate, rabies vaccination certificate, rabies serology report (if applicable) and veterinary letter confirming the tapeworm treatment. All supporting documents must state the dog's microchip number.

NOTE:  Our pre-approval only permits your service dogs transit through Heathrow. It is your responsibility to ensure your service dog complies with the requirements of your destination country/port of destination, and those of your outbound airline.